By Dave Tooley
Kenny Erridge was the blonde headed guy with no fear. He is the rider furthest to the right in the front row of this piccy.
In the early days of the club he rode around on a white Vespa Gs 160cc. I have vivid memories of him tearing up the alley behind my Dads back garden in Fareham with the front wheel airborne almost the entire way. This doesn’t sound too hard until you realise that the alley was a morass of potholes, some more than 9 inches deep. Many were full of water, and he did this in the middle of winter when they were mostly covered in ice and snow. I swear if he’d ever taken up racing he would have wiped the floor with everybody, or have been killed trying. I’ve never known anyone so desperate.
Another incident that comes to mind was early one Sunday morning as we waited for the rest of the gang to join us for a New Forest run, Kenny asked John Searle if he could have a quick ride on his machine. John agreed and Kenny climbed aboard, tearing off along the Gosport road. After riding for about a mile, he turned around and we could hear him coming hurtling back. The engine noise got louder and louder, and by the time he re-appeared down by the viaduct at the bottom of Fareham market he was doing one hell of a speed. We all looked at each other, thinking “he’s never going to make it at that pace around the sharp swoop under the bridge”
Sure enough he didn’t…
With a spectacular shower of sparks as the left hand running board dug into the tarmac, followed by a double somersault that would have impressed a circus gymnast, Kenny arrived almost at our feet at some considerable speed. We all scattered to make way for him and John’s bike, cascading end over end. He jumped to his feet, dusted himself down, and then verbally harangued John for riding such a ‘piece of shit’ as he so eloquently put it. I’ve never forgotten that incident; it makes me laugh still now when I think about it. Kenny crashed John’s bike, and blamed him for it.
I don’t think the concept of any bike having a limit to its cornering ability entered into Kenny’s psyche. The only other person I’ve known who thought like that was Barry Sheene.
more about Ken by Marten Holdway
Kenny was a madman. We worked together in the stores at Rafferty Newman’s for a few years until Ned Newman finally flipped his lid printing the price list. The price list printing day was a day to avoid, as the duplicator was always giving him grief. The office was full of paper flying through the air and blue language. Ned was always in a foul temper on price list day and we all learned to keep a low profile. On this day he found Ken and I and started having a go. (I can't remember what for now, something to do with packing a barrel I think) Anyway it was the final straw for us and we both jacked our hands in on the spot.
I next saw Ken in the Railway Inn in Gosport, his wife had just thrown him out and he was flat broke. I bought him a pint and lent him some money, and he went on his way. The next time I met Ken was in Makro's about 6 years later. He said he was a partner in a car accessory shop and doing well. We parted, and he said that he couldn't buy much as his Porsche had a small boot. To be honest I took that with a pinch of salt, but as I was leaving the car park Ken drove by in his Porsche.
Ken now runs Karate Dojo in Gosport, and by all accounts now goes to Japan to train them.